Henllys-fach (Little Henllys (Former court/habitation of nobleman))
In the will of John Thomas, farmer in1818 he leaves his niece Gwenlian Jones £5 and ‘one pair of bedclothes’ and to John Thomas son of William Thomas of Frongoch (his tenant) the leasehold of Henllys fach and also nearby Frongoch and all his personal estate to him and his heirs forever.1 In the 1841 census John Thomas the younger now aged 40 is the farmer at Henllys fach living with his wife Gwen 38, and his four daughters Jane 19, Mary, 17, Ann 12., Gwen 6, and baby son Daniel aged 1. In the ‘outhouse’ at Henllys fach, are Rees Jenkins 15 and William Thomas 15 both agricultural labourers.
William Jones of Henllys fawr was the owner of Henllys fach house and its 99 acres of land in the tithe and the tenant was John Thomas mentioned above.
Henllys fach is described in Pevsner as a, ‘big square late 19thc farmhouse, full height back and front, without the older outshuts or more more usual late 19thc rear wings.’
In 1910 a Mr Clark is living at Henllys fach who on the death of Edward VII. sent a, wreath, with the following inscription, ‘Britannia grieves, is overpowered with care, To-day she mourns the death of one so dear; Submissive to thy will, thou King of Kings we bow, Yet mourn the stroke that laid oar. King yet brother low. Dead, yet he speaketh, lessons left shall teach When jealousy and the din of war may cease Edward the noble. generous, great, shall live In honoured memory as the King of Peace.’2
An aerial photo taken in the summer of 1976 revealed a riverside cropmark enclosure east of Henllys-fach. It shows the cropmarks of a ditch cutting off a shallow bend of the Tywi. A small enclosure with rounded corners is also visible,
‘Two fairly straight sections of ditch are apparent, roughly 100m long overall, meeting in a shallow angle where there is an entrance gap about 10m wide. The enclosure is about 50m deep. Some 40m to the south-west is a subrectangular ditched enclosure with rounded corners roughly 20m across. It is attached to a sinuous ditch that runs south-west before being lost. These features are difficult to date. The large enclosure could be a later prehistoric type fort or settlement enclosure. Alternatively it could be part of a Roman military field work, if it is not a more recent feature. The small enclosure seems too irregular to be a Roman military work.’4
Below Henllys Fach was an old footbridge which crossed the river Tywi to nearby Towy Cottage. The Cambrian newspaper in a report on the 8th of January 1904 notes that it was rechristened from Devil’s Bridge to Angel’s Bridge. Melusina Bowen in her poem ‘Ystradffin’ refers to ‘deep cwm coy’ under Henllys, where the river has gouged out a dramatic chasm in a small wooded valley There is a bridge across the road here where a Bwcibo is rumoured to linger which may explain the association with the devil!
1. John Thomas: 1818. In St. David’s Probate Records, 1556-1858 (WlAbNL)3650004 John Thomas : will, 1818. (NLW)
2. Cambrian 27 May 1910 LLANDOVERIAN S TRIBUTE TO THE LATE KING
3. Pevsner 2006